By Jared Fields, Managing Editor
He’s not human.
At least Derek Hood doesn’t think so. It’s the only explanation he can give about Nicodemus Naimadu.
Naimadu turned in a world-best time this year of 28:06.06 in the 10,000-kilometers at the Stanford Invitational on Saturday night.
The mark shattered ACU’s school record set by Laurant Ngirakamaro of 29:26.25 by 80 seconds.
The race was Naimadu’s first time to run the 10K since coming to ACU.
“I’ve been wanting to run the 10k for a long time,” Naimadu said. “I told coach early in the semester I want to run the 10k.”
Hood said the two have been discussing Naimadu running the race but recalls one time specifically.
“Minutes after indoor nationals,” he said.
In the process, Naimadu beat some of the best distance runners in the country.
“Anything over 10,000 meters, he’s our best hope,” Hood said about Ryan Hall, whom Naimadu beat. “He set the [North] American half-marathon record over Christmas break.”
Hood knows Naimadu hasn’t focused on training for such a long race, the 10k is about 6.2 miles, but sees something in Naimadu that sets him apart.
“It’s just the blessing that Nic has – the talent,” Hood said. “He hasn’t done 10,000-meter training.”
The Stanford Invitational is one of the premiere meets for long-distance runners, bringing top runners from the country and world to compete.
“That was the point of going,” said Hood.
Hood said most people would take some time to rest after such a race, but Naimadu has a title to defend in Austin at the Texas Relays.
“He ran 25 laps on a hard track in spikes,” Hood said. “Running 4:30 mile splits.”
But Naimadu is human. His sore calves and back are steady reminders to him. However, with a few days of rest, Naimadu said he knows he will be ready to defend his steeplechase crown.
“I know my body will respond fine,” Naimadu said.
Naimadu ran an 8:35.87 in the event last year, breaking the stadium record.
“An 8:35, I plan to run better than that,” he said.
Other than Naimadu, the Wildcats automatically qualified two events for the national outdoor meet this weekend at the UTEP Springtime Invitational. Vladyslav Gorbenko jumped 25-2.00 feet in the long jump and the women’s 4×400 relay, with a time of 3:41.34, won the event.
The men’s 4×400 relay team improved its provisional time, winning the event with a time of 40.50 seconds.
Also at Stanford, Serger Gasore and Laurant Ngirakamaro provisionally qualified in the 10k with times of 30:19.38 and 30: 36.94, respectively. In the 5,000-kilometers, Philip Birgen provisionally qualified in 14:43.62 minutes.